Sunday, June 23, 2024

Horrible effects of quarrying


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‘Cherrapunjee is a third class tourist destination. I am sad to see the barren hills and no flower beds in the area,” H T Sangliana, a former IPS officer-turned politician, told reporters in July 2010. Many had objected to his comments including our own tourism minister then, Ms Ampareen Lyngdoh. Earlier anyone traveling to Sohra, Dawki and Mawlynnong used to be mesmerized by the scenery all along the way. But the scenery is now replaced by stone quarries and crushers right at the edge of the road which are an eyesore to all. These have a negative impact on the Tourism industry..

Quarries are bad for the environment in several ways. They abruptly interrupt the continuity of open space, ruining habitats for flora and fauna, cause soil erosion, air and dust pollution, damage to caves, loss of land, and deterioration in water quality. When they are near residential areas, they create noise hazards because of blasts from heavy machinery. Having said that, some quarries are needed for construction materials but the quarrying must be regulated.

Today hundreds of truck loads of stone and boulders are extracted daily by the side of the main road and are exported to Bangladesh. What does the Forest Department and the Pollution Control Board have to say on these illegal mining activities which are mushrooming everyday? My question is, who authorizes these quarrying activities at the edge of the road? It’s an open secret that illegal quarries are run by relatives and friends of PWD Engineers. In fact a certain PWD Engineer is believed to be having many trucks which are used to ferry these boulders. Hence I request the higher authorities to investigate and punish the officials who have a hand in quarrying and illegal mining. At the same time the Government should create awareness about the potentially negative impacts of quarrying.

Yours etc.,

J S Lyngdoh

Via email

Time to get real


Much has been written about influx, legal or illegal, into our state and I feel that as far as the influx of daily rated workers like carpenters, masons, helpers etc into Shillong is concerned, this could be reduced by something to which, I am afraid, most of our tribal workers are averse to; something called ‘ hard work’. It is a known fact that most people doing construction work in Shillong would rather use outside workers as they get value for their money. Most of our tribal workers waste a lot of time by coming late. On arrival at the work site more time is wasted on sharpening tools, eating betel nut and on a break for smoking. Then there is the tea and lunch breaks which consume almost a third of the working time. Most outside workers, as we all know, give full value for the money spent. I know of a lot of people who tried to do the right thing by employing local workers and who then regretted their actions. My suggestion is, instead of threats and beatings, can we not keep away outside workers by beating them at their own game i.e. by out-working them? If our people can work harder and better than them the word will soon be out that going to look for work in Shillong is of not much use as the locals there work very hard. In the years that I worked in Assam I recall one complaint that all contractors had. That was that most workers would rather head for Shillong as there was plenty of work there since the locals are not hard working. This feeling of easy availability of work in Shillong should be removed. As for the ILP, the Three Tier System or, for that matter, any other system that we can think of, none of these will be effective unless the government and the people are totally involved and committed in implementing them. Without this commitment all proposals will all have as much chance as a snowball in hell.

Yours etc.,





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